Alert issue no. 21. Throughout all last twenty issues of the Bulletin, the author have tried to emphasize the significance of the human element to operating the vessels in a safe and effective manner; the proper communication between all players to ensure the fitness of the ship for the intended activity is also very important.
We have also touched such the critical aspects of ship operation as the requirements applicable to the secure and safe working environment, fair employment terms, decent conditions of living and work, etc. The discussion of the topics listed above was intended to serve the ultimate goal, namely to ensure the safe conduct of the vessel and safe/timely delivery of the transported goods. We would like to underline the importance of the timely, accurate and relevant information and feedback to the successful design and subsequent operation of any vessel.
Another important issue is the information management involving the storage and processing, as well as transmission and input/output of the information. Nowadays, major part of it is undertaking using the so-called IT, i.e. information technologies - the application of computers, software and communication for the information management, dissemination and processing. This booklet shall be supplemented with the associated video film.
One more issue of Alert... This one is mainly dedicated to the education, training and development, as well as to the recognized occupational standards. In the past, most of the people going to the sea, did so because of their wish to become a captain of chief engineer of a vessel, while others just wanted to work at sea. Only few of those people had the aspirations towards building a career ashore.
Nowadays, there is a constantly increasing number of sophisticated and technically advanced vessels and systems which, when combined with the global labor force made up by so many nationalities, can definitely present serious challenges in the education of the seamen, their training and development of their careers. The STCW Code says that all seamen shall be duly qualified for the positions they work at on board, and the ISM Code obliges the Company to define the authority, responsibility and also the competence level required to be possessed by each of the crew members. In turn, all of the instructors and supervisors, and also assessors shall be "appropriately qualified".
However, these minimum sets are definitely not sufficient to cope with all systems on board many of the vessels today. That is why the ship owners and managers shall adopt the best shipping industry standards related to the recruitment and training of their employees... Best if supplemented with this short video.
One more release of Human Alert Bulletin. This one is dedicated to the accidents. Today, slips and trips, together with the falls account for the major portion of the occupational accidents occurring on board vessels, and there is so much evidence of that. And we would not say that it is very surprising, taking into consideration the environment in which people work aboard ships.
The risks may be coming from literally everywhere including but not limited to the slippery surfaces, e.g. decks, rolling and pitching movements of the ship, various moving objects like hatch covers and cranes, confined spaces, hot works, oils and greases, chemicals, noxious and dangerous substances, and so many others. The owners and managers of the ships are obliged to ensure that the above stated hazards are reduced to the reasonably practical level.
However, many seamen would be ready to tell you about the design weaknesses of the vessels that led to falls and slips. Moreover, numerous accident reports are telling about people who have fallen from height, i.e. platforms, ladders and masts. It is therefore very important to pay attention to the design features and also to keep them under review throughout the whole working cycle of the vessel. Supplemented with this video.
Here is the another issue of the popular Human Element bulletin. The key topic is the rogue behavior. Unfortunately, there is no any single and, at the same time, effective solution to the problem of rogue behavior.
However, the actions that could be undertaken in order to avoid the negative effects, may include providing the safe and secure working environment, that should also be usable, as well as proper living and working conditions plus the terms of employment. Another way to do that could be the encouragement of a healthy lifestyle and establishing the reasonable balance between the people and the job that is required for the ship to be operated in a safe and effective way.
Then, one of the additional options would be ensuring the required consistence in the education and recognized standards relating to the vocational training by means of the specific training, noting the job, operational role as well as the operating pattern of the vessel, together with the environment in which the ship would most likely operate, conducting the continued professional training on board the ship, including the analysis of the lessons that have been learnt from the AIRs, i.e. accident investigation reports, and providing of the most clear yet concise instructions as well as technical and operation manuals... Better if supplemented with this short video.
One more issue of the Alert. Nowadays, the image of the shipping industry in the eyes of the general society is not that good, rarely hearing any positive news. People are, instead, usually informed of the vessels in difficulties in stormy conditions, groundings and pollution of the surrounding environment.
They are commonly told about the maritime piracy taking place in some parts of the world ocean, ship masters jailed for misdemeanor etc. People who are familiar with the maritime internet resources read the articles berating the current state of the shipping industry, and the life at sea, in particular.
For sure, there will be numerous comments concerning the over-regulation, excessive paperwork and constantly increasing number of checks, reduced manning of ships, fatigue problems, owners not caring about the seafarers and not investing any part of their profits in the human element. It is not said everywhere that the maritime industry is a high-tech one, and that is because, regardless of the level of automation introduced into a vessel, there is always a need for human to keep that vessel operating.
These is also a demand for pilots and ship managers, marine surveyors, regulators and investigators of the accidents, experts and all other specialists, all of whom should better e coming from seafaring backgrounds. Use this short video as a supplement.
The twenty-fourth issue of Alert human element bulletin. The good design of the vessel performed bearing in mind the human element is considered critically important for the safe and also efficient operation of any vessel together with the systems, as well as to the health and safety of the crew members and their wellbeing.
The naval architects and designers of the shipboard systems shall be in close touch with the professionals working and living aboard vessels. They shall also have the understanding of the fact that nowadays the vessels are operating with the crews consisting of males and females, and people representing different nationalities, cultures and looking different - it actually means that the ship design features may be considered good for one group of crew members but will not necessarily be highly appreciated by others.
The designers shall also be able to perform the proper identification and provide clear descriptions of the social and physical concepts in which the products and systems they design is expected to be used, noting the nature of the work to be carried out and implications of the design they work on, for the crew members. They must have a clear and thorough understanding of the main principles of the HCD, standing for the human-centered design, addressed in the seventh issue of our bulletin...
Another release of the Human Element bulletin, and this one is dedicated to the health and wellbeing of people who are working at sea. Since so many of the systems on board ships are dependant on human involvement to some extent, we need to consider this link as a potential frailty that requires to be under periodic monitoring and management.
It is very important to keep the mariners healthy and happy since this will definitely result in the safe and commercially efficient of the vessel. In the fourth article of the MLC Convention it is emphasized that every seafarer is entitled to the right of working in a safe and secure working place complying with the applicable recognized safety standards, as well as to fair employment terms, decent conditions of living and working on board, protection of their health, and other forms of protection. It means that the owners and managers of the ships are obliged to provide their employees with secure and safe working place, and comply with the requirements of all relevant regulatory documents.
This can be done through encouraging of the safety culture and security awareness, provision of adequate benefits to the employees, establish and maintain the working policy of openness and good communication, and everything else that is required. The present issue of Alert is supplemented with this short training video.
Here is the fifteenth issue of he Human Element Bulletin addressing the important matters related to the automation. The topics that have been dealt with by the authors of this release include trust and dependability of ship automation, increasing the manageability of the automated alarms, perspectives of the chief engineer, automation, electronics officers and STCW Convention, staying cool in the liquid natural gas business, mitigating human errors in the use of automated systems that are installed on board marine vessels, meeting various operator's needs, breakdown of the machinery and fire that can subsequently occur onboard a container ship, and others.
The systems that are installed on board ships are protected with the very rigorous standards for design, and redundancy, as well as with the feedbacks activating the alarms. Both reliability and efficiency of subject shipboard systems can be significantly decreased if they have not been properly set up and if they are not duly maintained including regular monitoring - and all these tasks are to be performed by the seafarer, i.e. the human element of the system. The technological revolution that occurred in the past decades totally changed the way of interaction between people and systems. In the today's shipping industry, such human element became an endangered species, and that is mostly because of the increasing number of automation arrangements... This booklet shall be supplemented with this short video.